In addition, it is important to note that there is a possibility that certain personality traits could manifest themselves in different ways. In some instances, an individual’s personality trait could become conducive to positive workaholism, instances such as putting in more effort than what is expected or required by the employer. However, the opposite is possible as well; individuals could have personality traits that become generally associated with negative workaholism, such as an inability to compartmentalize work and family. As such, recent research from Department of Psychology at Wayne State University by Malissa A. Clark, Ariel M. Lelchook, and Marcie L. Taylor aims to analyze the impact of different personality traits on the different facets of workaholism.
Prior to this research study, there has been a small amount of research dedicated to understanding the relationship between personality and workaholism. These studies specifically addressed the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience, and Agreeableness) and three dimensions of workaholism (drive to work, joy in work, and work involvement). Through these studies, it has been concluded that the personality of the individuals causes the most variance in these three dimensions of workaholism. However, an aim of this research was to go beyond the scope of the Big Five personality traits. As such, this research study from Wayne State University aims to examine the relationship between narcissism, perfectionism dimensions, and positive and negative affectivity and workaholism beyond the Big Five personality traits.
This research study consisted of 323 working students at a university that were working more than 25 hours a week and have worked for 4.23 years. Additionally, these students had a mean age of 24 and had varied ethnicities. Narcissism was measured with personality survey that had choices between non-narcissistic and narcissistic responses, in which higher scores meant the individual demonstrated more narcissism. Workaholism was measured by a risk assessment, in which answer choices ranged from 1-4, where 4 meant, “always true”. If the individual got a higher score, there was higher demonstration of workaholism. Perfectionism was measured by the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised in which questions were asked about each of the subsections and the responses were scored based on the degree of agreeing. Higher scores in each of the subsets of questions meant higher standards, greater level of discrepancy, and higher preference for order.
Altogether, narcissism was significantly related to workaholism, and the impatience component of workaholism. The generally held higher self-importance and desire for power could culminate in overworking to showcase abilities and accomplishments. High standards dimension of perfectionism were significantly related to overall workaholism. Additionally, NA was significant related with overall workaholism. This means that even though some of the Big Five characteristics have a relationship with workaholism, other personality traits like narcissism, perfectionism, and negative/positive affects are more significantly related to workaholism. This begs the need for further research on personality traits in relation to workaholism that is not apart of the Big Five personality traits. In addition, this study also demonstrates that different aspects of personality traits can be related to different dimensions of workaholism, meaning that there could be positive aspects of workaholism. Understanding the outcomes of workaholism is truly important, but understanding the causation, specifically the implications of personality traits, could provide further insight on the concept of being a workaholic.
Clark, M. A., Lelchook, A. M., & Taylor, M. L. (2010). Beyond the Big Five: How narcissism, perfectionism, and dispositional affect relate to workaholism. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 786-791. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.013